Evans Parts Ways with UFC, Eyes Return
The retirement of former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans appears it will be a short-lived one.
Per a report from ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Evans has parted ways with the UFC in anticipation of signing a contract with another promotion to resume his in-ring career after announcing retirement just last year.
“I changed my diet after I retired, and it’s drastically changed my body and how I feel,” Evans said. “I am definitely heavily thinking about coming back. I just felt, when it came down to it — I want to make some money in this comeback, and I didn’t know if the UFC was interested. They’re focused on something different. I don’t think they’re into bringing back the older fighters who have retired. They’re into what’s next, what’s new.”
Evans retired following a loss to Anthony Smith at UFC 225, which marked his fifth defeat in a row. It also marked the end of Evans’ final UFC contract.
Since then, Evans has served as an analyst for UFC programming on ESPN and has continued to train some of the UFC’s current fighters, including current UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
According to Evans’ manager, Ali Abdelaziz, Evans and UFC President Dana White already have sat down and White gave his blessing for the two sides to move on.
“He and Dana White talked, and it was a mutual decision,” Abdelaziz said. “He’s been back in the gym, and he’s feeling really good. I think there are a lot of fights out there for Rashad, and I’ll be talking to other promotions about him shortly.”
Making his professional MMA debut in April 2004, Evans entered the UFC through winning the second season of The Ultimate Fighter. After starting his Octagon career 5-0, Evans battled Tito Ortiz to a draw at UFC 73 before defeating Michael Bisping at UFC 78 and scoring a huge, shocking knockout of Chuck Liddell at UFC 88.
This led to a title shot for Evans, and he’d finish Forrest Griffin at UFC 92 to win the UFC light heavyweight title. He would lose the belt in his first defense, however, dropping it to Lyoto Machida at UFC 98.
Evans went 6-7 for the rest of his Octagon career. In addition to the five straight losses to end his run, one of the remaining two losses came in a bid to regain 205-pound gold, as he dropped a unanimous decision to Jon Jones at UFC 145.
Original Story: ESPN